Vile criminals have found ways to scam worried victims amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. There are a number of ways in which one can fall victim to their scams. Some thugs are going door to door claiming to be testing for the novel coronavirus infection and robbing residents. Others are targeting the anxious elderly by robbing them of their shopping money. Online scams through electronic mail has also become rampant. The metropolitan police have taken to social media to warn citizens of the scams taking place.

#ScamAlert Fraudsters are exploiting the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus to facilitate various types of fraud and cyber crime. If you have been a victim or have been sent any such material please contact #ActionFraud to report.

— Met Contact Centre (@MetCC) March 19, 2020

In many parts of the United Kingdom, victims have reported getting robbed at home. A group of thugs have started targeting residents by claiming to be health care workers. Knocking on doors, the criminals claim that they have come to conduct tests for the novel coronavirus infection. Even though the government has not organised any such projects, some worried people have allowed the scammers into their homes. Upon gaining entry, the criminals rob the homes before fleeing.

A more cruel scam which has hit the country targets pensioners. With elderly people more at risk of the COVID-19, they have become an easy target for scammers. Some criminals have started contacting lonely elderly people to gain their trust. They then offer to buy groceries and essentials for them. Once the victim hands over the shopping money, the scammers become untraceable.

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau is currently dealing with 21 cases of fraud related to COVID-19, The Sun reported. Criminals have managed to get £800,000 from victims last month.

Not only are the crooks knocking on people's doors, they are targeting victims online as well. There are two popular email scams doing the rounds.

One of the email scams starts off with an email claiming to be from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). The email contains a link which leads to a phishing website. The sophisticated site that the link leads to hoodwinks victims by making them pay via bitcoin.

The other popular email scam claims to offer a tax refund from the government. According to the email, a tax refund of £128.34 can be received after the victim provides bank details. Once the victim enters the bank details, the scammers withdraw money from the victim's account.

Apps claiming to show the spread of the novel coronavirus are also unreliable. After the app is downloaded, they give access to personal information on the victim's phone. The app can also allow the download of malware onto the device.

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Scammers are using the COVID-19 crisis to target panicked victims. iStock